Singapore, Malaysia settle on alignment for Woodlands-JB rail link
The tracks of the Singapore-Johor Rapid Transit System (RTS) will bend over Johor, rather than over water as was the initial design, after taking into account the Johor Sultan’s earlier reservations over the project. The new alignment — which features a bridge crossing the Johor Straits in a largely straight line — will make no difference to Singapore in terms of cost or operations, reported TODAY. The two countries have inked a bilateral agreement for the rail link. Details of the alignment were part of the pact, which sets out the key points of agreement between the two sides, including the technical, safety and security requirements, and customs, immigration and quarantine arrangements for the project. Construction of the rail link is expected to begin after tenders are awarded by early next year at the latest. Passenger service is due to begin by December 2024. For a start, the service will run between the two cities with up to three trains and two spare ones, with capacity totalling 5,000 people per hour in each direction. At its peak, the rail link can ferry up to 10,000 commuters in each direction hourly. (Malay Mail Online)

Maybank Islamic’s rent-to-own scheme now open to Klang Valley buyers
Home buyers in the Klang Valley can now apply for Maybank Islamic Bhd’s new rent-to-own scheme, which was announced and launched last November. Dubbed “HouzKEY“, it is the first such rent-to-own homeownership plan in the country to be fully enabled on a digital platform, with the application and submission of supporting documents to be made online. Home buyers can now browse through a range of properties by 12 developers including Eco World Development Group Bhd, S P Setia Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd, Gamuda Land Sdn Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd, Selangor Dredging Bhd and Mitraland Group Sdn Bhd. Seven more developers are expected to come on board. The scheme only requires three months of rental deposit and customers can immediately move into their dream house. The customers are given the option to purchase the property after renting for at least one year at a pre-agreed price. (The Edge Markets)

Maybank Islamic chief executive officer Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican (Photo from The Star)

MBSB to provide RM700mil funding for eight Rumawip projects
Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is planning to rollout up to RM700 million in financing for the development of eight more Federal Territories Affordable Housing (Rumawip) projects. The total GDV of these projects would be RM2 billion. One of the projects is Residensi Hektar, situated next to the Pasar Besar Gombak along Jalan Gombak, which will be built on Malay Reserve Land. MBSB will provide the developer, Hektar Aneka, with a Tawarruq financing facility of RM161.345 million to develop the condominium project, comprising five high-rise blocks. Upon completion on Dec 31, 2021, Hektar Aneka will contribute 2,400 units to the Rumawip scheme. (Malay Mail Online)

Sime Darby Property to build over 1,000 affordable houses
Sime Darby Property Bhd targets to build more than 1,000 units of affordable houses in several locations especially in the Klang Valley beginning this year, to enable urbanites own their own homes. The affordable houses would be priced from RM200,000 to RM800,000 based on their locations and would consist of various property types including double-storey houses. The company will build some 1,000 units of affordable housing in locations such as City of Elmina and Putra Heights, along with about 600 units of mid-range houses in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang. (Malaysian Digest)

Titijaya lines up RM1.45bil new launches in 2018
Titijaya Land has lined up RM1.45bil of new launches in FY18, largely in the affordable segment such as high-rise residential units. The projects are in Damansara West, Bukit Subang and The Shore @ Kota Kinabalu, as well as compact serviced suites in Riveria @ KL Sentral. AmInvestment Bank Research is cautious on the property sector due to: (1) the generally still elevated home prices; (2) the low loan-to-value (LTV) offered by banks; and (3) house buyers’ inability to qualify for a home mortgage due to their already high debt service ratios (DSR). It estimated that Titijaya in 2QFY18 has been able to match its sales of about RM100mil achieved in 1QFY18. (The Star Online)

Pavilion REIT expects strong single-digit growth in 2018
Pavilion REIT is anticipating a strong single digit growth in net property income (NPI) for its financial year ending Dec 31, 2018, which will be driven by the Da Men Mall, Elite Pavilion Mall and stabilised operating costs. In 2018, about 17% of Pavilion Mall’s tenants were still due for rental revision of about 5% to 6%, which is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2018. It currently has about 98% occupancy rate. Furthermore, the proposed acquisition of Elite Pavilion Mall for RM580 million has been approved by its unitholders. Presently, the REIT’s assets had been giving a yield of about 5.5% to 5.75%. (The Edge Markets)

Khairy to submit TN50 Youth Aspiration Report next month
The Youth and Sports Ministry will submit the TN50 Youth Aspiration Report to the Prime Minister’s office latest by next month, said its minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Among the aspirations voiced by roughly 70,000 Malaysian youths include better quality and affordable housing. “One of the strongest aspirations… is that the youths want to see sustainable urban cities. They don’t want to see urban planning of the past where there is no connectivity and planning was haphazard. They want affordable housing, greater living space, more space for parks, a respect for the environment and more trees,” he said. Other aspirations brought up by the youth included working conditions of the future, sustainable environment and better cyber security among other things. (Malay Mail Online)

Advance Synergy acquires Klang Valley commercial buildings
Kuching-based Advance Synergy Bhd is acquiring two commercial properties — one located in Jalan Yap Ah Shak here and the other at Temasya Glenmarie, Shah Alam — for a combined RM40.95 million. One is a 70% stake in a detached commercial five-storey building block in Jalan Yap Ah Shak for RM18.9 million. The other is a 70% stake in a detached commercial four-storey building in Temasya Glenmarie for RM22.05 million. The proposed acquisition forms part of Advance Synergy’s new strategy to expand into property investment and diversify its property business from East Malaysia to Peninsular Malaysia. (The Edge Markets)